Welcome to 2024 and perhaps one of our most important episodes. This is the story of the Gaza Sunbirds, a Palestinian para-cycling team located in Gaza, as told by Karim Ali, the team’s UK-based International Coordinator. While we wished that sharing this story would have been under better and peaceful circumstances, we’re here to tell you that this is a story of hope and true resilience. A story of Sumud, which is explained in the episode.
Like so many across the world, we’ve found it truly difficult to make sense of what is happening in this little strip of land on the Mediterranean Sea. Like many also, we’ve spent the past three months, learning more historical context, hoping for peace and doing what we can to show the world that athletes - living in, and from the wider Middle East, Palestinians included - want nothing more than what any of us want, to live in peace, security, & freedom and to experience all the joy that life offers.
In this episode, we discuss the original mission and origins of the Gaza Sunbirds including the story of its founder Alaa al-Dali and the circumstances that saw him go from Olympic hopeful to amputee and then para-athlete in his new reality. We learn about members of the team, what life was like for this team of para-cyclists before October 7, how their mission has changed and what hopes they have for the future.
As we mention in the episode, below are some resources and further information that we invite you to check out:
Some historical context:
Palestinian Sport Teams & Accounts to Check Out:
We hope you were touched by this episode as much as we were and thank you again for listening.